Politics blog

What the new State Patrol headquarters could look like

OlympianMarch 19, 2014 

This is an artist's rendering of the 1063 Block Replacement Project proposed at Capitol Way and 11th Avenue, facing the state Capitol Campus lawn.

ZGF ARCHITECTS LLP — Sellen and ZGF Architects LLP

The public finally gets a glimpse of three architectural plans for a future Washington State Patrol headquarters at the state Capitol Campus this evening, but the glimpse may only be a glimpse for now.

Due to a design-build process for the $82 million project, three competing teams of architects and builders have been secretive about their detailed drawings – even going to court last week to block release of many project documents after an activist asked for them. 

Pending a judge’s further ruling it’s not clear how many design documents can see the light of day before that case is heard on April 16. Activist and public-records sleuth Walt Jorgensen had submitted requests, and he says he wants the public to have more information about the building, which could have high impact on the community.

That said, the Department of Enterprise Services hopes to draw a crowd to its unveiling event at Office Building 2 on the east Capitol Campus. It starts at 6 and features presentations from all three architectural and construction firms that submitted bids that made the first cut earlier this year.

The agency’s review panel is expected to study the proposals in further detail over the next few days and announce a winning design by March 28.

But so far, just one of the three design teams of architects and engineers – Sellen Construction Co. of Seattle and ZGF Architects of Portland – released public drawings of what their proposed 200,000- to 250,000-square-foot building could look like. You can see that drawing attached to this blog post.

In another unusual move, state officials on Wednesday canceled a live streaming of their public meeting planned the same afternoon. Spokesman Curt Hart at Enterprise Services cited the ruling last week by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor that blocked public release of many documents related to the project.

DES also cancelled a Thursday morning meeting of a Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee, saying legislation creating the project last year specifically cut CCDAC out of the process.

"The process here is bizarre ... It's certainly not normal," said state Sen. Karen Fraser of Thurston County, who had pushed to include CCDAC in the process. 

House Capital Budget Committee chairman Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said documents on the project can be released after an apparent winning design team is selected. Dunshee  pushed for the project in the capital budget in 2013, winning $13 million in cash and pledge for $69 million in future bond financing.

But the entire project is in doubt now, because Dunshee's assumption of bond rates was too low and the cost-per-square-foot for future tenants will exceed what the budget proviso a year ago allows. But the $13 million remains in the budget for design and potential site preparation work at 11th Avenue and Capitol Way.

Dunshee contends the project can sit in limbo until final authorization is allowed by the Legislature in 2014.

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